To get ready for Valentine’s Day, we asked some husband-wife chef and restaurant management duos to share their romantic stories: how they met, what they like to cook to celebrate the holiday and whether their restaurants go all out in the name of love.
Written by Tiffany MacIsaac, Executive Pastry Chef of the Washington D.C.-based Neighborhood Restaurant Group. Her husband, Kyle Bailey, is the Executive Chef of Birch & Barley, one of NRG’s popular restaurants featuring a seasonally inspired menu and an extensive (read: 500+) list of beers.
Kyle and I met at the since-shuttered Ilo, a three-star restaurant located in a NYC hotel. At the time we were both in relationships, but we became fast friends. One night a week, Kyle would need to stay to work the room service shift after dinner. No one ever ordered, though, so we would get a pack of beer from the corner store and drink it while we waited. A closing restaurant can be a depressing environment to work in, but we always worked hard and pushed one another. After the restaurant closed, we went our separate ways, but we stayed in touch. When Kyle was working at another restaurant, Cru, he recommended me for a pastry chef position (even though his girlfriend at the time was a pastry chef) and the rest is history.
Being married (going on 3.5 years now) and working together presents its challenges, but we overcome these by being very communicative. (Kyle likens us to Dr. Dre and Eminem: “We fight nonstop, but we get along better than anyone else.”) We’re incredibly honest with each other in the kitchen and never hold back on giving feedback about a certain dish – we’re both striving for greatness.